Title: Under My Skin
Series: Naruto AU
Word Count: ~24,000
Warnings/Notes: M/M, language, minor angst, references to past abuse; one of my few stories NOT set in Monoshizukanohi
Spoilers: None whatsoever.
Summary: When Iruka asks Kakashi to help stop the apparent self-destruction of one of Kakashi's students, Kakashi decides to try and help Sasuke escape from the older brother causing him problems. Two weeks at a private beach house seems like the perfect solution...to more than one kind of problem.
Pounding. Someone pounded on the inside of Kakashi’s skull, and he really didn’t appreciate it.
Then someone kicked his shin with a sharp heel, and Kakashi cursed the universe for being so cruel and unusual.
“Huh?” Kakashi said intelligently.
“There’s someone at the door.”
Kakashi opened his eyes and sat up. He and Sasuke lay in a tangle of limbs and dirty sheets. They were in his room, now…and for the life of him he couldn’t quite remember how they got there. He shifted and winced…wait…why was his
Then he spotted a black phallic shape on the floor next to the bed. It was an attachment piece for the vacuum cleaner, and suddenly Sasuke’s rather artful and creative use of the piece of plastic came back to him in stunning clarity. He shivered.
The visitor pounded on the door again, and next to him Sasuke picked up a pillow and smacked him.
“Like hell if I’m going to try to walk right now,” Sasuke grumbled. “Get the fucking door.”
Kakashi decided he’d save his lecture on how to address one’s elders until later, and got out of bed. It took a couple of minutes to locate some pants, which he dragged on while muttering very unkind things about the visitor’s ancestry.
Running fingers through his hair, Kakashi made his way to the front door and threw the locks.
“Yes?” Kakashi said with bare civility as he yanked open the door. His eyes went wide.
“Hatake Kakashi,” Itachi said. “I need to see my brother, please.”
Kakashi wasn’t often rendered speechless, but it took him a second or two to find his wits.
“I beg your pardon?” Kakashi said, bodily blocking the door and mentally thinking of the nearest weapon.
Itachi sighed, and Kakashi noticed that the man looked like he hadn’t slept in…years. Possibly ever. Itachi reached up one hand and rubbed it over his face.
“I know he’s here,” Itachi said. “And if you let me see him, I won’t bother with threatening to go to the police.”
“Why would you in the first place?”
Itachi glared at Kakashi, and for a second it was like looking at Sasuke. “Hatake, you know why. Let me see him and I’ll pretend like nothing ever happened and go away quietly.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Kakashi?” Sasuke said from the hallway. He sounded small and young.
“It’s all right, Sasuke,” Kakashi said, not taking his eyes off Itachi.
“Sasuke, please,” Itachi said, voice carrying.
“Get off my property,” Kakashi growled, moving to shut the door. Itachi slammed a hand into it, holding it open.
“I’m not going to hurt him,” Itachi said. “I don’t know what he’s told you, but there are things I have to say. You can be in the room at all times. Hold a gun to my head. I don’t care. Just let me see him.” The pleading look Itachi gave Kakashi was as confusing as it was obviously desperate.
“I think I’ll take you up on the gun,” Kakashi said.
“If you so much as make one move toward him that I don’t like, I’m blowing your head off and leaving you out for the gulls.”
Itachi nodded. “I understand.”
The two men stared at one another and finally Itachi looked down. The show of submission was enough to convince Kakashi that the man might be here to…well, do something more noble than drag Sasuke off to have his wicked way with him.
Kakashi stepped aside.
“Thank you,” Itachi said. He walked just into the house and stopped, catching sight of Sasuke. The raven stood with his arms crossed over his chest, and he wore one of Kakashi’s t-shirts and his own pajama pants. His hair was ruffled and his face bore a scowl darker than any Kakashi had ever seen.
“Stay here,” Kakashi told Itachi. Moving fast, he grabbed Sasuke and pulled him into Kakashi’s bedroom. He wasn’t about to leave Sasuke alone with Itachi – not even for a second. Kakashi grabbed the gun from beneath the mattress and shoved it into the back of his jeans. Sasuke’s eyes went a little wide, but he said nothing. Then they both walked back out into the living room, where Itachi stood next to the front door. He looked tall, regal…and utterly defeated.
“You have five minutes,” Kakashi said and moved to lean against the kitchen counter. Sasuke stood in the living room, a couch and chair between him and his brother.
“What do you want?” Sasuke asked, voice tired.
“To explain,” Itachi said.
“Then you better do it fast.”
Itachi looked up and met Sasuke’s gaze. “Madara died last week.”
Sasuke didn’t even blink. “And?”
“And because of that, this is the first time I’ve felt safe to come home.”
Sasuke’s mouth tightened. “Go on.”
Itachi kept his eyes on Sasuke and straightened his spine. “Madara was a sick man,” he began. “He was taking me to his bed for years before you caught his attention. I watched over you, and I know I was overbearing. I know you thought I was being overprotective and jealous, but it was the only way I could make sure Madara didn’t get too close.
“On that night when I…did those unforgivable things, Madara told me he wanted me to bring you to him. I refused and told him that in exchange for not touching you, I would agree to leave with him. To stay with him for however long he wanted and do anything he asked so long as he never came back to lay a hand on you.”
Kakashi’s eyes widened, remembering that Sasuke said Itachi babbled about family and love and never letting someone touch Sasuke on that final night. He looked away from Itachi and watched Sasuke closely for signs of distress.
“I know what I did was horrible, Sasuke. But I was half out of my mind. I think in those days Madara felt the need to drug me occasionally to make sure I didn’t put up too much of a fight. I’m not trying to excuse my behavior. I could give you any excuse in the world, but it wouldn’t be enough – couldn’t be enough.
“I don’t expect you to forgive me.” Itachi looked down at the ground. “But I hope it’s some small consolation to know that I’ve lived with Madara and his twisted perversions for years as penance. Every time he laid a hand on me, I’d think about you crying in my arms and know that this was my punishment. Honestly, I hoped I would have the strength to kill myself after Madara died, so you could go on never knowing anything that happened. I was okay with you hating me…so long as you were safe.”
Silence filled the house, and Kakashi watched Sasuke’s eyes go a little glassy. His breathing quickened, and Kakashi tensed.
“But I love you, little brother…” Itachi’s voice sounded thick. “And I wanted to come home one last time and give you a final birthday gift. I’m leaving the country…Madara left me his businesses, and I’m going to manage them. If you’ll agree to it, I can finance any school you want…I know you’ve done well.”
Itachi took a step forward, eyes still down. “I’m proud of you.” He looked at Kakashi.
“And I know you have people who care about you and who’ll look after you.”
Kakashi nodded once in acknowledgement.
“I’ve made it very clear to Mother and Father that my leaving was in no way your doing. I told them to give you space and room to do as you pleased. You’re an adult and brilliant. You’ll go far.
“And you can do it all without worrying about Madara…or me, for that matter.”
Itachi stopped and fidgeted for a second. “That’s…that’s all I wanted to say.” He seemed surprised that it was such a short speech, eyes going wide for a second. Then he swallowed and turned to go.
“Brother, wait…” Sasuke said, voice hoarse. Itachi turned and the hope in his eyes nearly flattened Kakashi. Watching this was pure hell.
Sasuke didn’t speak for an agonizingly long moment, and both Kakashi and Itachi tensed.
“Can…can you leave a number?” Sasuke asked in a rush, not meeting his brother’s gaze. “Or something? So I can call you once I figure out where I’m going to school?”
Itachi blinked and tears slid down his face, but his voice didn’t waver as he answered. “Of course.” He dug into his back pocket and fished out a business card.
“This has my office and my cell,” Itachi said, laying it on the arm of the couch; a rectangular olive branch. “Call me any time for any reason.”
“I’m so sorry, Sasuke,” Itachi said, and his voice broke on his brother’s name. Kakashi pushed away from the counter and went to Sasuke, whose shoulders shook. His hair obscured his face, and Kakashi put an arm around him.
“You should go for now, Itachi,” Kakashi said. “I’ll remind Sasuke to call you in a few days.” This time, he wasn’t lying.
Itachi wiped his face and regained his imperial composure. He bowed to them both.
“Thank you,” he said and left.
When the door clicked shut, Sasuke crumpled to the ground. He shoved at Kakashi twice before finally letting the older man wrap him into an embrace. His eyes were open and wet with unshed tears, and he clenched his teeth against the tidal wave of breakdown.
Kakashi pulled Sasuke sideways to sit between his legs and leaned back against the wall, gently pushing Sasuke’s head to his chest. He said nothing, but he rubbed soothing circles on Sasuke’s shaking back. He ran fingers through Sasuke’s hair, and kissed the top of his head.
And when Sasuke finally wailed in anger, grief, confusion, love, and pent-up rage, Kakashi held him until the storm passed.~*~
Kakashi peered into Sasuke’s room and saw he still slept. He’d put the younger man to bed after cleaning him up from both last night and the emotional torrent. Sasuke’d been asleep for hours, and about every thirty minutes, Kakashi checked on him to make sure he was okay.
Sighing, Kakashi walked through his room and sat down in the plastic deck chair to watch the ocean. It was late afternoon, now, and he watched a young couple stroll down the beach, the girl’s hair whipping in the wind. She laughed, and Kakashi smiled.
Feeling numb and happy, Kakashi breathed deeply and forced his shoulders to relax. He didn’t bother replaying the scene from earlier or trying to sort it out…he and Sasuke would have time to do that later. For now, he just wanted to watch the waves.
Some time later, the door creaked, and Sasuke stepped out on the porch. Kakashi sat up straighter and watched as Sasuke wrestled another chair next to Kakashi’s and sat down. Sasuke looked rested and peaceful, though his hair stuck up in a hundred directions and Kakashi had to suppress a smile.
They watched the ocean together for long minutes, and Kakashi felt warmth pool in his stomach when Sasuke’s hand sought his own and laced their fingers together.
“Akatsuki University is only twenty minutes from here,” Sasuke said.
“True,” Kakashi agreed, hope blossoming in his body.
“I think I’ll call them tomorrow, schedule an appointment with Admissions.” He frowned. “Can I borrow your phone?”
Kakashi smiled. “You can, but yours is in the kitchen. I rescued it from untimely demise.”
Sasuke snorted and squeezed his hand. “Thank you…for everything.”
Kakashi looked at Sasuke’s serious face and smiled. “Of course,” he said. “I’m in the business of rescuing these days.”
Sasuke didn’t look at him, but he cocked a brow. “Should I go run into the ocean, then? So you can play lifeguard?”
Kakashi laughed. “Nah…too much trouble. Have to find a costume and all that. I can just rescue you from the shower.”
“Vicious things, showers,” Sasuke said, voice serious. “I hear they get everything wet.”
Kakashi tugged on Sasuke’s hand and leaned over to kiss him. “I don’t see the down side.”
Sasuke chuckled and kissed Kakashi soundly, the tide coming in and the sky slowly darkening to dusk.~*~